COMM 362

Digital Media Foundations

This course provides a look inside the technologies and infrastructures that make digital media function. Although some topics will be technical, no previous technical experience is expected.



Except for the final exam period, these dates may be adjusted to reflect our progress (or lack of it). Assigned readings more than two weeks ahead may be changed. (To read ahead, buy the optional books.) All this means that you should check this page regularly for updates.

This page last changed on Monday, 7 Oct 2019

Week 1: Introduction

4 Sep (W)
Sections/labs do not meet during Week 1.

Week 2: Analog vs. Digital

9 Sep (M), 11 Sep (W)
First section/lab meeting this week.
read Rushkoff excerpts, Comer Ch. 3, Manovich excerpt
watch Wired Science: Analog vs. Digital (video, 9 mins.)
Optional: Comer Ch. 4

Week 3: Digital Convergence

16 Sep (M), 18 Sep (W)
read Comer Ch. 5, Comer Ch. 9, & Comer Ch. 10; Wilson Ch. 6

Week 4: Internet Architecture

23 Sep (M), 25 Sep (W)
InterACT Ch. 10-11, InterACT Ch. 12-13, & Lanier Ch. 1 excerpts
Recommended: watch A Packet's Tale (video) and only the first 3 minutes of How Does the Internet Work? (video)

Week 5: Markup and Layout Languages

30 Sep (M), 2 Oct (W)
Assignment #1 due (Monday, 9am).
Quiz #1 study guide released.
read Interact Ch. 14, Interact Ch. 15-16-17, & Interact Ch. 15-16-17
optional: read Unwebbable, InterACT excerpt: Tables for layout? Welcome to hell!

Week 6: Search Engines

7 Oct (M), 9 Oct (W)
Quiz #1 (Monday).
read Duckett on Forms and iframes, Duckett on Tables, Battelle -- The Search (Excerpts)
optional: read Comer Ch. 25, Introna & Nissenbaum article

Week 7: Programming Fundamentals, Algorithms

14 Oct (M) (No Class Monday: Fall Study Break), 16 Oct (W)
No sections this week (Fall Study Break)
Assignment #2 due (Wednesday, 9am).
read Mahan's Scratch Tutorial (on the Web)
optional: Kitchin article

Week 8: Programming Fundamentals (cont'd)

21 Oct (M), 23 Oct (W)
read Graff excerpt, Booth et al. ch. 5 excerpt, Booth et al. ch. 8-9 excerpts
optional: Meet the Professional: What can you do with programming skills once you've learned them?

Week 9: Internet Platforms

28 Oct (M), 30 Oct (W)
Writing workshop results due (explained in your lab/discussion section) (Monday, 9am).
Final Project Proposal due (Wednesday, 9am).
read Mueller Ch. 2, Rosen Ch. 3 (on the Web).
optional: Mueller Ch. 3, Comer Ch. 16.

Week 10: Feeds

4 Nov (M), 6 Nov (W)
Assignment #3 due (Monday, 9am).
Quiz #2 study guide released.
listen to Secret Histories of Podcasting (~38 min.), Facebook's News Feed: Often Changed, Never Great (both on the Web)
optional: Sikos Ch. 8.

Week 11: Syndication and Distribution

11 Nov (M), 13 Nov (W)
Quiz #2 (Monday).
read Comer Ch. 13, Comer Ch. 14, Sandvig Ch. 10.

Week 12: Open Web, Data Types

18 Nov (M), 20 Nov (W)
Assignment #4 due (Monday, 9am).
read Wibbels blog post.

Week 13: Control Structures

25 Nov (M), 27 Nov (W)
read Reas & Fry Ch. 1, Reas & Fry Ch. 9, Reas & Fry Ch. 18.

Week 14: Online Audience Tracking, APIs

2 Dec (M), 4 Dec (W)
additional readings TBD.
Quiz #3 study guide released.

Week 15: Life After #DigitalFound

9 Dec (M), 11 Dec (W)
Quiz #3 (Monday).
Final Project due (Wednesday in class)

Finals Week: Final Paper Due

18 Dec (M)
Final Paper Due (Wednesday, 18 Dec, 4:00 p.m.)
No in-person final or meetings this week.

Meme Break: You can miss one lecture meeting without any explanation and your absence will not be counted against you. Knowing about this rule is your reward for reading to the bottom of the page. (This does not apply to section meetings, just lecture.)